BY THE FIRE

Dedicated to ROPARZ HEMON
A. D.

Neither silver nor gold
Have I pursued.
In my labor’s shadow I’ve lived,
With my parents in their poor abode
And we three, by the fire,
In winter, after supper,
With stories and singing,
We forgot our suffering.

My dear parents passed away,
Both from old age,
And I found myself one day
Alone in my house.
And alone by the fire
In winter, after supper,
Instead of singing, only sadness
In my sorrowful heart.

I have struggled for years
Against sickness and despair.
For I’m inclined, luckily,
Toward work, toward study.
But at night by the fire,
In winter, after supper
I focus on nothing,
Doze off in my suffering.

But one day (a miraculous thing!),
From Ireland flown in, (1)
The echo of your magical songs
That awaken my heart.
And now by the fire,
In winter, after supper,
I sing them to myself
To lull my suffering.

January 1963.

(1) After WW II Roparz Hemon spent the remainder of his life exiled in Ireland.

Translated by Lenora Timm
This poem in breton





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